Violet Evergarden Episode 1 Review (No Spoilers)

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AnimeExpo 2017 premiered the very first showing of Kyoto Animation’s upcoming anime, Violet Evergarden, to the world. This was the first public showing ever, including in Japan.

They premiered the first episode of the , as well as guest speakers: the director, voice actor, and singer of the OP. (And a bonus live concert from the singer herself for those who stayed after the credits!) The event was fantastic!

Next Level Animation

I think this anime is going to set the bar pretty high for animation and art standards. Really, the level of effort and work that must have gone into creating the animated time-lapses and some of the really complicated and NOT 3D rendered (as far as I could tell) scenes in this first episode really blew everyone away.

The animation looked better than most animated movies and that’s saying a lot for something that’s intended to be a series.

Source: Violet Evergarden PV 1

Kyoto Animation have done it again with this visual masterpiece from creative shot transitions to glamorous visual effects and, in some scenes, hundreds of little animated things happening all at once. It was really a mesmerizing experience.

Movie-Like Audio and OST

The soundtrack was very “cinematic,” as in: the music just flowed seamlessly with each scene. It was as if the music was the stitching that intertwined between each camera cut, each setting transition, and each time change. Watching the first episode felt like watching the first arc to a feature film.

The sound effects were spot on; the tremendous sound system might have had something to do with it also…

Plot

I don’t want to reveal any specifics about the plot but overall I will say it seemed promising. In other words: I wasn’t entirely satisfied after watching the first episode. It wasn’t like watching the first episode of Breaking Bad where you know some epic adventure is just getting started and you’re left with some cliffhanger leaving you thirsty for more.

Rather, the plot of the first episode spent much of its time getting us up to speed on some of the events that happened prior to where the first episode picks us up at; it spent a lot of time introducing us to things we have no background story on, and giving us background story on things via flashbacks and dialogue, and in “present time” of the actual show… well nothing really happens to be honest.

It seemed like they could have gone the route of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and threw us right into a taste of the action in the first episode, instead it seems as if the narrative will take us back and forth through time as we uncover the mystery of the main character and her deep, dark past.

In my absolute and unquestionable anime opinion, I have to say that the plot and story flow (of the first episode) might have been the weakest part of the entire presentation.

And I’m not saying it was bad or boring, but the ending of the first episode didn’t present us with any overarching conflict or main pressure on the main characters that required any sort of sense of urgency or suspense; it seemed as if we were headed for a slice of life or love story. (Nothing wrong with that at all, but that wasn’t what I was expecting based on the trailers.)

Speaking of the trailers…

Trailers

Pretty much nothing in the above trailer (including the song) was present in this first episode. I’m really sad about the song! 🙁

About the second promo trailer: again, pretty much nothing in this trailer showed up in the first episode.

And to be clear, I’m not expecting everything in the trailer to necessarily happen in the first episode, but the pacing of the first episode felt so slow that I’m not sure when we will see these things. (If we will even see them at all!)

Looking back at the second trailer, there is a scene at 0:03 where she is sitting on a bed: this was about the only scene that was present in the first episode. Based on my memory (we weren’t allowed to take pictures or film the event so I can’t be certain but…) I specifically recall that room being arranged differently. I recall her being in the bed in front… I know, I promised no spoilers!!! Sorry if I ruined it for you….

This might seem like an insignificant detail… My memory could simply be wrong too, but if scenes in the trailer were specifically animated just for promotional purposes, then it is a valid concern of mine that we may quite possibly never see the things that we saw in the original trailer!

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See Also

I won’t jump to any conclusions yet! All I am saying is that it would be sad if the trailers ended up not reflecting the actual anime. Much like some recent video game trailers hyping up an ordinary game with pretty graphics… I’m really hoping this won’t be the case!

Conclusion

Of course, they say if you never have any expectations then you can’t be disappointed. But anyone who has been paying attention to the anime scene has definitely watched the first trailer, and it sets the bar very high!

When I waited in that very long line of ~3,500 people, the trailer kept replaying in my mind. I couldn’t wait to finally get a glimpse of this show and I certainly wasn’t sure if I would be able to wait until 2018 to watch this show!

Upon leaving the event, I do think I can bare to wait for this show to be released. I’m not saying this as an insult to the creators of the show or anything, please don’t rush it! I want it to be good, I really really want this show to be incredible and blow me away.

And, in the few flashbacks we saw, it really does seem like we’ll be treated to an emotional roller coaster, so with absolute sincerity, I really do hope that this show will be good. And, without bashing the show, I really, wholeheartedly do hope that the second episode will be significantly better than the first!

Got this sweet postcard from the event

The job of the pilot episode is to get you sold on the rest of the series. In terms of the production quality, I’m quite sold and ready to experience more! In terms of the story, I’m still waiting for that “oh yeah, this is gonna be my top 10 best anime” moment to happen. Incredible visuals aren’t going to automatically pop this in my “top anime” list… Story is everything! I hope it really gears up in episode 2 😀

We’ll find out in 2018!

 

Let me know what you thought of this review. Are my expectations too high? If you were one of the 3,500 people who saw it: do you agree or disagree with my thoughts?

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